The Campaign for the Freedom of Rafael Braga makes a call for collectives, movements and popular organizations all over the world to join us in the International Campaign for the Freedom of Rafael Braga.
We are making a call so that in November 2016, activities can be organized all over Brazil and abroad aiming to publicize the case of Rafael Braga and to debate themes like racism, genocide of Black people and people of color, mass incarceration, penal selectivity, prison abolition struggle etc. The activities can be cultural events, rallies, debates, paintings, stencil, propaganda, speeches and others. We ask for the groups and individuals that organize something to send us details about it through the FORM so that we can publicize it and build a calendar with the events. Besides the activities, it is also possible to support the Campaign by sending us pictures with signs supporting Rafael Braga or solidarity notes signed by collectives and groups.
Rafael is a young poor Black man that until June 2013 used to work picking up material for recycling on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Downtown. He used to sleep on the streets and only sometimes go back home, in favela Vila Cruzeiro, so that he would save up the transportation money. However, on June 20th, his routine changed.
On that day, the biggest of the demonstrations that were happening at the time against the raise of the bus fare took place. In the end of the demonstration, at Lapa, Rafael, at the time 25 years old, was arrested when he was arriving in an abandoned house where he used to sleep sometimes. He didn’t participate in the demonstration and was carrying two plastic bottles, one with bleach and one with disinfectant. At the police station, the cops that arrested him presented the bottles opened and with clothes. He was charged for carrying explosive material that would be Molotov cocktails. He was sentenced to 5 years and 2 months. On December 1st, 2015, he got out of jail on probation with an ankle monitor.
Back to Cascatinha, Vila Cruzeiro, with his family, on January 12th 2016, he went to buy breakfast in the morning as asked by Dona Adriana, his mother, and on the way he was stopped by the cops. They said that he was involved with drug dealers and were demanding information and that he said that he was a criminal. He was beat up on the way of the police station. The cops also threatened to rape him if he didn’t assumed participation on drug trafficking. The cops forged a flagrant kit with 0.6g of marijuana, 9.3g of cocaine and a firecracker. So, since January, Rafael Braga faces charges of drug trafficking, trafficking association and trafficking collaboration.
One of the main issued raised by the Campaign is the motivation behind the arrest of Rafael Braga. He was arrested and condemened in 2013 even without being a protester. He was arrested because he is Black and poor. Because he is not an activist, no mobilizations were made at the time and he was tried and condemned very quickly. Even after his sentencing, the mobilization around his case never achieved the level of the mobilizations around the case of other arrests of militants in 2013 and 2014. Rafael is a symbol of the penal selectivity and structural racism of the justice system of Brazil. The most recent arrest reinforces this point of view. Living in a militarized area, Rafael was stopped and charged of drug trafficking. The flagrant kit forged by the cops is often used by the police in favelas. The war on Blacks camouflaged of war on drugs keeps on making new victims every day, exterminating Black people and sustaining mass incarceration.
In order to know more about the history of the case and of the Campaign, click here.
Free Rafael Braga!